Tuesday, July 05, 2011

End of an Era

(Photo from www.wallpaper.net.au)

I think I’m pretty lucky. Back in October 2002, Kevin and I were in Orlando for 10 days and Atlantis was due to launch during our time there. Not that many people have been able to experience this in person. It’s hard to explain. Just being at the Kennedy Space Center was a cool experience, but to see, hear and feel that shuttle take off was just something that took my breath away. It was a uniquely American experience, being there on the coast with gators taking a peek at us from the waters between us and the launch site. Just a bunch of strangers watching American ingenuity take flight.

This Friday is the last launch, and I’m feeling a little melancholy. I wish I could have seen another launch. Many of those amazing people who have worked on this program will be out of a job soon, and so much knowledge will be lost to us. I’ve heard it will be at least 5 years before we may see what the next generation of “space vehicles” may be. We’re also kind of leaving those on the International Space Station a bit out in the cold. If an emergency comes up, it isn’t as if the Russians can launch in a few days. Transporting food and supplies will be more difficult, as I understand it. I don’t know. It just seems wrong in a way.

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